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  • Writer's pictureTamara Williams

My Silk Roots

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Whilst Tamara is the creative genius behind Ruby Kite my background of working in printed textiles, for very many years, has helped Tamara bring to life her glorious pieces of art, on beautiful natural fabrics.

Funnily enough, it may be more than just chance that I ended up working in printed textiles for most of my career, though it seemed pretty accidental when I got a Christmas job at Liberty’s in their scarf department and ended up staying for two years!

I was born in Macclesfield, which was famous for its silk manufacturing, and my father worked for Brocklehurst Whiston, which was one of the largest silk mills in the town. As a little girl I can remember my mother having drawers full of lengths of beautiful printed silks which I would use for dressing up. Even at the age of 5 I wanted to wrap myself in beautiful silk! And my mother and father had wonderful collections of silk scarves and ties. As we then moved away from Macclesfield I never really thought about how this must have influenced me.

From his days at Brocklehurst Whiston my father had an old wood Hand-Block which would have been used in the mill for printing. It is made from pear wood and the metal castings of the artist’s design are pieced together on the surface of the block. Holes are cut in the back to give the printer an easy grip. This was essential as the printer had to carefully place the block on the silk so that the joins between the previous block he’d laid were imperceptible. Such a far cry from digital printing that we have now.

Of course Tamara and I have had a play with the block, and it certainly is a beautiful design. A new pocket square perhaps?

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